To the Editor:
Lora Petso was elected once, but did not win ever again — and she tried three times! Perhaps the major reason is because Ms. Petso’s council votes often result in the suppression of economic development.
One very good example is the Point Edwards condominium development. I just completed an analysis of Snohomish County’s tax records for each of the 261 condo units at the project. The value of Point Edwards for 2011 tax purposes is more than $133 million. The amount of 2011 property taxes assessed is more than $1.3 million — about $280,000 of that is revenue for the City of Edmonds. And, of course, a very significant amount of sales tax was received during the construction phase.
In 2002 the Planning Board recommended to City Council the rezone of the existing property at the request of Unocal, the property owner. One of the major elements of the proposed rezone was a 5-foot increase in the allowable height. Unocal said that amount of extra height was essential in order to have a redevelopment that would cover the exceedingly high costs to clean up the site and to provide an increased amount of open space. Without the height increase they couldn’t proceed with their project.
When the rezone was dealt with by city council on July 2, 2002, six of seven members recognized that the rezone was in the best interests of our city. After all, as one member pointed out, the extra height would still cause the tallest structure to be eight feet lower than the existing oil tanks. Nevertheless, Ms. Petso voted against the rezone. The only other remaining council member is Michael Plunkett. Mr. Plunkett voted in support of the rezone.
What is astonishing is Ms. Petso’s chronic failure to “connect the dots” when it comes to her strong support for parks and her persistent opposition to condominiums and to small increases in height. Parks are largely funded by the funding from the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) — a considerable amount of REET comes from the initial sales and the resale of condominiums. When REET is diminished, park funding will have to come from even higher property taxes.
I strongly support the election of Darlene Stern — Ms. Stern has the ability to “connect the dots”.